MERGE: Herculaneum and Getty Villa

My concept for the challenge: I merged two locations in different countries. This is also the first time that I merge my Flashback Friday with the Weekly Photo Challenge.

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, the Roman seaside towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as the surrounding area were engulfed by volcanic material. Since that time up until the 18th century, Herculaneum was buried under a layer of volcanic material more than 15 meters (50 feet) thick at the base of Vesuvius.
The remains of the buried city were first discovered in 1709 and explored mainly by tunnels during the 18th and 19th centuries. The site’s many richly decorated public buildings, houses and theater have yielded fine marble and bronze sculptures, wood elements, and paintings. Of particular significance, an extensive library of charred papyrus rolls was found at the Villa of the Papyri (a lavish residence that served as the inspiration for the design of the Getty Villa in Malibu, California).

Three short periods of open-air excavation at the site were conducted in the 19th century. Systematic open-air excavation began in 1927 and continued until 1961. Since 1961 excavations within the archaeological site have proceeded intermittently. It is estimated that only one third of the ancient town has been uncovered, with the remainder lying under the modern town of Ercolano.

Source: Getty Website

Having an odd admiration to Mt. Vesuvius, I decided to hike the heart of it. Little did I know that the tour I signed up for also consisted of revisiting the past of what it was like before the volcanic eruption. The ruins showed how the Romans were very established and civilized then. They had stores, bakeshop, pizza place, markets, gardens, parks, or pretty much everything you find in a regular community. Given the periods, it proved that it goes way back tthen that Romans were already decorating their quarters with paintings and sculptures of colors and of variety of designs, placing intricate marble tiles, constructing multiple-level buildings, and were very well aware and knowledgeable with different systems that are necessary to build shelters, cook food, and survive like irrigation, equipments, transportations, etc. I was certainly exploded with compounding fascination, interest and wonder.

Turn the hands of time to present is Getty Villa which I visited last month. Getty Villa location design is based from Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. The rusted and ancient look of the pillars, walls, ceilings, pathways and materials in Herculaneum can be observed at the Getty Villa in pearly whites, smooth textures and refined designs and more elaborate patterns.



This is such a beautiful feeling. I get to visit these two inter-related locations. I wasn’t aware of such connections. I only discovered it when I sat for two hours on the audio-video station in Getty Center. Imagine my added excitement. These merging images of my waking tours of Ercolano in Italy and Getty Villa in California makes me realized even more how truly blessed I am. Pardon the greediness and over-ambitious desire, but if I could time travel back to 79 CE to Herculaneum before Mt. Vesuvius got mad, that would be exponentially awesome. I’d promise to take pictures to share to all of you. *big grin*

The pillars on both locations are my favorites.

I’ll be posting more of Getty Villa so for now, here’s more of Herculaneum …

Paintings, tiles, and colors



I know this relative newly created blog since it started. Her first post was a simple, yet very illustrative picture of a portion of Getty architechture. Do check that out? Since then, she’s been “focusing” on building designs, flowers, and abstracts with keen eye, obscurity and pleasant randomness. See how she approached the Disney Hall, and see how Rona has such a good eye for often neglected areas and parts.


LAST CALL … I think it doesn’t do justice when I shrink my pictures putting them as part of collage. It’s quite a struggle when you want to share more but didn’t want to crowd the page, esp. With these large images. Well…

The artifacts and sculptures you see in the Getty Villa can also be seen in Naples Archeological Museum.

Related Posts:
Mt. Vesuvius
The Getty Center


87 replies »

  1. I visited the Getty a couple of decades ago. Herculaneum is our on agende sometime in the future. The National Gallery of Art hosts an exhibit from Pompeii a year or so ago, which just whetted our appetite for travel there.

    • Noting I didn’t know the connection before, I was surprised myself. It’s so cool. And I’m glad I had sufficient pictures for both to merge the two locations together.
      Wanna make a time machine? You can take shot gun. πŸ˜€

  2. You have a beautiful blog! These are amazing! Thank you for stopping by my site for a visit and I’ll be coming by often to see you magnificent photos. I’m hoping to get a new camera. I probably should have made the purchase before we left Canada. What kind of camera do you use and why do you like it?

    • I say it’s in the lens. I have three lens. I have wide, macro and a telephoto lens for Canon. The Herculaneum shots are from Point and Shoot. Have you consided renting a camera? I haven’t done it, but I know people do.

      • We’re in Panama…in the country. I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to find a rental camera here, anywhere! I’m kicking myself in the pantalones for not mining the brain trust in the design program at the university I worked at in Canada. Although some swore by Nikons and otheres were die hard Canon users. Likely it will be a more difficult search for a camera that fits my needs here. I don’t want anything too complicated. I have a little waterproof point and shoot right now. I’ve found that being near water alot the waterproofing is important. Even with that I sometimes still get a foggy lense if it’s a steamy day near the water. You got amazing shots with your point and shoot. You have a very good eye!

        • Not complicated, Canon is the one for you then. πŸ™‚ You actually said it perfectly well. I’m a die hard Canon user, but can’t deny that that Nikon is better
          Well, Nikon generates better images, but it’s not like something Canon can’t do. And know there are great SLR cameras that are smaller in size.
          We used Point and Shoot for our underwater shots when we went to Philippines. My blogpost of it never leaves my Top Posts. I’m saying, never underestimate the mighty power of point and shoot. Bwahahahah πŸ™‚

          • Thanks for the advice. Mi amiga here has a Rebel and she loves it. I may have to look for it in the city but it’s on my Christmas wish list!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your discovery of the connection between the Herculaneum and the Getty Villa! To be able able to actually see the connections from the photos is exciting. What an effort, Rammel! Btw, I almost posted my Pompeii photos for the Near and Far… πŸ™‚

  4. I love the Getty Villa and my father visited its twin during WWII and told me about Pompeii & Herculaneum leading to a life long fascination with all things Roman. Great post!

    • Thanks elfkat for coming by. Love your exhibits of Getty Villa and Getty Center as well. The architures are awesome but I love all their sculptures above anything else. To each their own, I guess.

  5. Interesting. I visited Pompeii years ago when I spent a college semester in Italy. I went to The Getty Villa a few years ago. When I see ancient sites, I always wonder what it really looked like/felt like when it was “new”. Then I go to something like the Getty and it felt fake, like an amusement park. Interesting that I have that reaction, you know? I forget that what I’m seeing at The Getty is as close as I’ll get to going back in time!

    • I see what you mean. It’s certainly a different atmosphere and feeling, and the viewing pleasureis certainly different from seeing sculptures outside than seeing it inside a museum. I guess this make Getty Villa extra special. Thanks for bringing that up. From my pictures, the biggest lost of authenticity are the pillars. i think Herculaneum with half-standing pillar looks so much better than the clean, smooth, complete pillars of Getty.

  6. I’ve also been to both sites. Herculaneum is such a lovely, eery place. And the Getty Villa is just plain lovely. Great idea to cover them both in this post.

    • That is so cool to know, Loni. I hope people who do get to go to both countries get to see this and experience it as well as we have. It must have been a trip back to memory lane for you. And thanks for commenting. πŸ˜€

    • Well hello there, Featured Blogger. πŸ˜€ The minute I came across your blog, I knew I’d keep an eye on it regular. Keep them coming Rona. You take really awesome photographs. And you better visit Getty Villa. I will come pounding the door of your blog, and bother you until you get there. Bwahahaha πŸ˜€

        • Ooops, I said something mean about the attendees who are safeguarding the exhibits to one of my comment. Sorry if I offended ou. It was from Getty Center, anway.

          That’s so cool to know. More than one occasion! You really far more interested. Well, I’m glad you didn’t come up with this idea for a blogpost. Hehehe

  7. You really got me on this post! Your work is spectacular and I have put Naples Archeological Museum as first on my list of places to see when I go to Italia next May. Napoli will be the citta I fly in and out of, Melfi is to the east and that is where I will be staying. Maybe I can make it to Pompeii and Herculaneum to see these places.

    • Why you looking at my blog!? Shouldn’t you be doing something? πŸ˜€ I look forward to it til then.

      Ow, I should have a postofother things Getty Villa this month. The displays in Getty Villa are similar to that of Naples Archealogical Museum.

    • Come to LA! πŸ˜€
      In case you really are interested. I, (strictly personal), prefer Getty Villa than Getty Center because of the sculpture. You might have known about Getty Center already, but if you haven’t I think it’s better if you’re seeking more modern art.

    • Thank you, jugorum for taking the time to comment. I do hope you go back to regular programming. For now, it’s nice to see some of your subtle moments pictures. πŸ˜€

      • Actually I think my next trip is going to be for a very public event. The Space Shuttle Endeavour lands at LAX tomorrow. I won’t be there for it, but then, in mid-October, Endeavour will take a 14-mile journey through the streets of Los Angeles on its way from LAX to permanent display at the California Science Center. That’s when I want to go. Can you imagine a huge airplane roaming the streets of L.A.? Where’s Hollywood when you need them?………lol

  8. Strange how similar the architecture is between the two places separated by thousands of miles/years in space and time. I regret not seeing Mt. Vesuvius when I was in Napoli. Next time for sure.

  9. Great post and fun reading the comments. Being a californian your places are familiar to me. But now what a fun way to think about them. We artists do have our own world. I painted in Herculaneum I liked the abstract shapes one sees looking through the ruins. like Rothko paintings. I have an old canon rebel with a nice big zoom lens which I get out sometimes.. I just got the little sony cyber 100 which is hard to beat for a pocket camera. Again, great post.Carla

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